L-NU Law externs praised
By Farah G. Decano
TODAY, I received a letter from Executive Judge Mervin Samadan of the Dagupan City Hall of Justice extolling five law externs from the Lyceum-Northwestern College of Law who happened to be observing the procedures in his sala. He saw the smartly-dressed young men and women eagerly watching and listening to every manifestation and objection of the practitioners appearing before him.
Judge Samadan wrote, “I have put their enthusiasm in court by letting them participate in one of the cases I see them fit to resolve. They are commended for expeditiously and professionally handling both parties in this case by convincing them to settle and indeed it came out with favorable result. With their diligence, they have contributed in a most significant manner in resolving the case amongst family members and it is with pleasure that I wish them all continued success in their pursuit to become members of the legal profession.”
Even before I received the good judge’s letter, I was then representing a client before a Municipal Trial Court when a Provincial Prosecutor approached me and happily informed me how the L-NU externs were performing in her office. She said that they accomplished their tasks with so much gusto. To top it all, she remarked, “they are good-looking.”
I am so delighted that, despite being new to the Clinical Legal Education Program (CLEP), the L-NU College of Law has been receiving these heartwarming feedbacks. I wish to give credit to CLEP advisers – Professors Noah Siapno and Doris Barrozo – along with the rest of the professors of L-NU for the performance of the externs. There is, indeed, a difference between just teaching the students about the law and inspiring them in making the law a tool for positive social change.
Since I became Dean, I have identified and advocated for three core values of the L-NU college of law: justice, excellence and patriotism.
Law must not be taught in a vacuum. Following Aristotle’s proposition, students must realize that they live in a community. The faculty members of the L-NU do not only make it our task to teach them what the law is. We also make it our responsibility to make them realize that lawyering is not for self-aggrandizement. It is, instead, for the purpose of promoting a just social order where each individual will attain happiness.
There is nothing wrong about teaching the ideal. I am not naive to expect that the College of Law can change mindsets or principles of its adult students overnight. Experience taught me that law students, before enrolling, already have deeply ingrained sets of values. Nevertheless, we must march on, teach them what the law is, what ought to be and how they could help foster a just environment that enables each individual to achieve his/her potential.
I invoke my right to hope. I must keep the faith that the four years of immersion at the L-NU College of Law would somehow make a dent on the adult students’ core being for the best.
As part of nurturing the students’ foundation, the L-NU has invited the famous Dean Chel Diokno on December 5 to extensively discuss this new concept – the right to hope as a human right.
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